The third X-Men prequel (following on from First Class and Days Of Future Past), this has the young(ish) versions of Professor Xavier’s (McAvoy) and Magneto (Fassbender) in the 1980s as a new world threat emerges – a super-mutant from Ancient Egypt named En Sabah Nur (Isaac).
Accidentally resurrected by one of the good guys (oops), this prosthetically-challenged dude seems to want world domination, or perhaps annihilation – his motives are never really clear, which is part of the problem – with the help of four mutants in S&M outfits: a pre-Halle-Berry Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), winged Angel (Ben Hardy) and Magneto, who has turned to the dark side once more after a plot development you’ll see coming a mile off (shame he didn’t).
After more than an hour of mixing in new characters to those already established such as Nicholas Hoult’s Beast, Lawrence’s Raven/Mystique, Evan Peter’s Quicksilver and Rose Byrne’s law enforcement gal, we finally have a gang ready to take on the grumpy Egyptian. Newcomers Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler all get their chance to have fun with the junior versions of characters we have met before, and work nicely alongside the veterans when the conflict finally starts, but it is all a very long time in coming thanks to some seriously slow moments and unnecessary scenes beforehand.
Quicksilver’s snore-some rescue at the gifted school is too reminiscent of Days Of Future Past’s jailbreak, a motivational side trip to Auschwitz (yes, really) seems a bit tacky and too much time is spent foreshadowing future events. And that’s the main flaw of the movie, really – it’s hard to be invested in a battle when we already know the outcome, this being a prequel and all (gosh, do we think X, Y and Z survive? Let’s check and see if their characters are in 2000’s X-Men!).
In the end all that’s left for the audience to do is to sit back and watch the admittedly impressive CGI build to the grand finale (ignoring, as our heroes do, that the war damage will have killed thousands of people) while trying not notice that the wardrobe department decided to have Xavier fight the battle of his life while wearing a lilac sweater.
Is X-Men: Apocalypse suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is a 12A certificate and features frequent deaths, including beheadings.
Characters are often in life-threatening situations, and scenes involving attacks on Raven and Xavier may upset younger (under age 10) viewers.